Friday, April 13, 2012

Sometimes life ain't no picnic

But that doesn't mean we can't have a picnic!

Yesterday was a hard day for me. I really wish I could say that life is all hunky dory and that I handle every challenge that comes my way with grace and ease. But I'd be lying if I said that. I actually don't handle challenges very well. Not even the littlest challenges. 

It's no secret that we are a family of modest means. We are trying to make this lifestyle of me being a stay at home mom and Robbie being the provider work. Robbie really has a testimony of this kind of family organization-where one parent works outside of the home to be the primary bread winner and the other parent works inside of the home as the caretaker of the home and primary caregiver of the children. He's determined to make this work, and I am thankful that I have a husband that works his behind off to make it work. I wasn't raised this way, so I am quick to feel like giving up. "We're just not the kind of family that gets to have that luxury," I say, lament, whine. I think about trying to get a job and then I think about daycare costs, and any job I could possibly get would only be used to pay for daycare. I feel trapped in this situation. I don't know what to do more than what I am already doing. 

Finances and money and this whole "creative budgeting" thing that one of my midwives taught me really get me down. I wish that the amount of money our family can pull in didn't make me feel like a worthless person. I wish I didn't feel so ashamed when I must ask people to do me favors. When I really need people to do me favors. I really truly, honestly need the help of those that have been kind enough to do so. I wish it didn't make me feel embarrassed and ashamed to need help. I wish that the gratitude I feel for those wonderful people in my life wasn't stained with those negative emotions. 

So, bright and early yesterday morning, I was saying my morning prayers, and the electricity went off. This was right after Robbie left for work and before Lily woke up. I immediately thought, "Uh oh. That partial payment that we made on the electric bill didn't buy us any time." Then I thought that maybe it would come back on after a few minutes, because it did the same thing last week. Only it came back on after a few minutes. Thirty minutes later, I realized it wasn't coming back on. Because I just wasn't in a really good frame of mind for calling people to tell them I suck at life and can't pay my bill, I just texted Robbie and he said he would handle it. Being stuck in the house all day with no electricity really sucks. My mind just started reeling with all the things that I wouldn't be able to do that day. No Backyardigans for Lily. No laundry. No cooking. No a/c. All the food in our refrigerator was going to spoil after awhile. I had been so very careful to buy exactly what we needed for two weeks until Robbie got paid again, and it was all going to spoil. Our food money was gone, so if it spoils, then what? I just couldn't force myself to do anything but sit on the couch and worry. I was immobilized with worry. I felt like crying, running away, jumping out of a window, something, anything to get out of the situation. I contemplated jumping in my car with Lily and going home to my mama. But that wouldn't fix anything, and I don't want to leave Robbie here to deal with "the suck" all by himself. 

I'm not sure in what order everything happened after that. I think I situated Lily in her playpen with a bunch of toys, came in my room, curled up in a ball on my bed and moped for awhile. I know that accomplishes nothing, but sometimes I just need to mope and feel sad. I just need to go through it and get the moping out of my system. It sucks having the lights cut off, not really because the lights are cut off, although that in itself does kind of suck, but the feeling of "you suck at life" that washes over me when we're doing our best and it just doesn't work sometimes. 

And this isn't the first, or second, or even third, fourth or fifth time that I have been stuck at home and our lights have been cut off. Once that happens, we scramble to try to get the money together to pay the bill and get our lights turned back on. Sometimes we have to make a phone call to Mommy or Daddy or Father-in-law or someone to help us. Sometimes we shuffle things around and can come up with the money ourselves. Sometimes I have just gotten paid from flute lessons and need to make a bank run. I remember a couple of years ago, when I was newly pregnant with Lily and worried that I was experiencing a miscarriage, our lights got cut off. It was a scary moment in my life, and it was getting really hot in our apartment. I was home all by myself. Our lights had gotten cut off that morning, but I didn't know as I was at school that morning. When I got home, it was really hot in there. I called to pay the bill after shuffling some things around, and just waited. I didn't know how long it would take for them to turn the lights back on. I just went in my room, curled up on the bed, and moped and cried and prayed, "Heavenly Father, if I have to go through this (meaning the miscarriage), please at least let me have some light and some air." It was a really sad time for me. 

Thankfully, when the lights came back on, I breathed a sigh of relief. And the good news is that I wasn't experiencing a miscarriage, just some weird unexplained bleeding, and Lily was born safely, wonderfully and healthy seven months later. 

Since I am an overly emotional person, something like my lights getting turned off isn't a simple little problem that can be fixed really easily. My mind makes it into something bigger than it really is, because to me it is a bigger problem. My lights getting turned off isn't just the fact that I was late paying my bill, it's that this bill has to wait so we can pay that bill, or all the food that we have for the next two weeks is going to spoil and we have no money to get more. 

Since of course just merely calling and paying the bill once we got the money to pay for it isn't enough, I had to get my debit card declined. What? Yeah. So Robbie called the bank and they told him that there was some sort of security issue with the cards and the credit won't work. Debit will, but credit won't. And awesomely enough, our electric company doesn't have that option. So anyway, after awhile, I figured out how to pay the bill, and that got accomplished.

Now in the middle of all that, I went for a walk with Lily to the mailbox to see if we had received our new debit cards, since apparently they were mailed last week. Nothing of importance was in the mailbox, but Lily and I discovered it was gloriously beautiful outside. There was a wonderful breeze and the temperature was perfect. I decided when we were walking back that we would have a picnic. So we went inside, made some sandwiches that I cut up into quarters to make it fun, packed our little sock monkey Easter basket with goodies, grabbed a blanket, and headed back outside to have our picnic under a nice shade tree next to the pool. I loved it because the pool has a few fountains in it and I like the sound they make. It was wonderful to feel the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze against my skin. Sunshine really does wonders for my soul. I'm glad we were able to go outside. 

After we made it back to our apartment, we discovered that our electricity had been turned back on while we were outside enjoying the beautiful day. Yay! I was able to breathe a sigh of relief, and for some reason, I'm not really all that worried about having to live on next to nothing for the next week. At least not at the moment. 

There are a few reasons why I am sharing this less than flattering information about our family. First, I need to get this out of me. I can't keep this to myself. It makes me feel better to finally just reveal that I'm not the best at handling my challenges. I'm not happy and smiley all the time. I am hopelessly imperfect, and I just don't feel like putting on a happy face all the time. Second, I vented my frustrations on Twitter yesterday because I figured no one would really notice. But a few people did notice and seemed to appreciate that I dropped my facade and revealed that things get hard sometimes. I try to maintain this image that I am happy all the time, but that's just not true, or realistic. Maybe it is for some people, but I just can't do that. Sometimes I get mad, sad, discouraged and any other emotion besides happy. And I suppose I need to understand that just because I am feeling an emotion other than happy, it doesn't mean that I am a bad person, or that I lack faith, or fill in the blank with some other negative quality that I often accuse myself of having. Yesterday was just a crappy crappy day for the first half because ya know what? Sometimes people have crappy crappy days. Cuz like my title says, sometimes life ain't no picnic. And ya know what else? That's ok. 


  1. <3 and (((hugs)))! These experiences 'shall be for your good' even though they thoroughly "suck" in the moment.

    Pout when you need to. Get mad when it helps motivate you. You are allowed to be human! Trust the Lord in ALL things. Being a stay at home Mom in a tough economy is a HUGE leap of faith. Its not pretty, but you'll never regret the time spent with Lily. Pay tithing first and you may be down to your last dime by payday, but there will always be 'enough'. You and Robbie will be blessed for your sacrifices to make this lifestyle a reality. It does get better...step by step.

  2. Thanks for the words of encouragement. It's tough making this lifestyle work, especially in this economy. Paying tithing is definitely more a matter of faith than a matter of money isn't it? I don't remember who told me this, but it's not paying tithing that takes faith, but living the rest of the time off the money that's left over. THAT takes faith. Soooooo true!

    I'm glad you put "enough" in quotes. :o) I know you know what I mean by that. :o) I can't really explain what I mean, but I know you get it.